Trigger Finger or Thumb

Trigger finger is a painful condition that affects one or more of the hand’s tendons, whereby a finger or thumb clicks or locks as it is bent towards the palm. It is caused by the tendon becoming swollen and inflamed causing it to ‘catch’ in the tendon sheath (the tunnel it runs through). The condition can develop in both hands. Triggering is sometimes due to tendon nodules in people known to have rheumatoid arthritis, and those with insulin-dependent diabetes are particularly prone to trigger finger. It can also arise after an injury such as a knock on the hand. The pain can be aggravated by hand use at work, at home, in the garden or when playing sports.


Trigger finger causes pain, stiffness and clicking at the base of the affected finger or thumb, particularly first thing in the morning. In severe cases, the finger can become stuck in a bent position.


Some patients with a mild case of Trigger Finger recover without any treatment. We recommend that patients avoid activities that cause pain

Another method of treatment is a steroid injection, which can relieve the pain in most cases. However, the success rate is lower in those with diabetes. A second injection may be required, and surgery may be needed if the symptoms persist.

Surgery involves the decompression of the tendon tunnel, carried out under local, regional or general anaesthetic. It involves a small incision, which requires a small dressing for up to two weeks. Light use of the hand is possible straight after the surgery, which will help aid recovery. Recurrence of Trigger Finger following surgery is unlikely.

Full List of Hand & Elbow conditions

Arthritis Of The Thumb


Dupuytren's Disease

(Dupuytren’s contracture)

Hand and wrist swelling

(Finger Stiffness)

Trigger Finger

(or Thumb)

Tennis Elbow

and Golfers Elbow

Hand and wrist pain

Swelling, and Stiffness

Tendonitis syndrome

& De Quervain’s syndrome